Five-year-olds to be given compulsory lessons on money, savings and debt

Now here’s something the UK is doing that we should be doing here in the states, giving compulsory lessons to children on money management. Check out this article I found here on the telegraph, that I thought was so neat I would share it with you. Parents in the US should push for this education for their children, in the long run it will benefit them by having financially savvy kids.

Children aged five will be given compulsory lessons on managing their finances from next year as part of a range of new measures for primary schools.

Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has disclosed details of the new programme, which starts with lessons on how to save money in a piggy bank.

Mr Balls is also expected to announce a £50m fund for schools to intervene with extra lessons if six or seven-year-olds fall behind with basic Maths or English.

In a joint pledge with Gordon Brown to be unveiled on Monday, he will promise that, from September, schools will provide small group tuition or one-to-one help for “those furthest behind”.

He will also urge primary schools to teach at least one foreign language from September – a year ahead of the current deadline.

Lessons about current and savings accounts and how to budget will be compulsory from all school pupils from September 2011 as part of a new personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum.

Between the age of five and seven, they could be taught to identify different coins and notes, and how to save money.

From seven to 11, youngsters could learn about managing bank and savings accounts, and how to budget.

In secondary schools, from the age of 11 to 14, pupils could be given lessons on credit cards, mortgages and loans, or about managing household finances, such as bills.

And 14-16-year-olds could be taught about debt and how money problems can affect people.

Mr Balls said: “It’s really important that we teach our children about pensions, responsible saving and effective money management.”

Martin Lewis, creator of, said: “Finally we’re getting somewhere. We encourage our youth into debt when they go to university, but the disgrace is we’ve never educated them about debt.”

However, Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Ed Balls is as much an architect of our financial woes as Gordon Brown is. The idea that he is trying to teach kids about financial management is an early April Fool’s joke.”

Latest figures show that the average student debt stands at around £15,812. Recent studies have found that the burden of debt, accentuated by the recession and high levels of unemployment, has created a new generation of “mummy’s boys”.

Mr Balls said the latest pledge on “basics” included the promise that “teachers will be empowered to decide what support is best for each child”. Extra support “could include specialist reading and number help or support from a dyslexia specialist”.

Mr Balls will also pledge that pupils aged between seven and 11 should have the chance to learn a foreign language in class time.

Presently, eight per cent of primary schools in England and Wales do not offer any foreign language lessons even though one in seven pupils does not speak English as a first language.

There is no restriction on which languages primary schools will have to teach, but some have already opted for so-called ‘community languages’ such as Urdu or Polish which are often spoken by a majority of pupils.

Mr Balls added that pupils of all ages should be able to learn languages favoured by employers, such as Mandarin. He said: “In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

“That’s why we want all secondary pupils to have the opportunity to learn up and coming languages like Mandarin if they choose, either at their own school or a nearby school or college.”

Michael Gove, the shadow education secretary, said: “This government has overseen a catastrophic decline in modern languages and this latest announcement inspires little hope of turning it round.

“There doesn’t appear to be any money attached to this scheme and there is such a severe shortage of teachers in subjects such as mandarin and Urdu that it’s difficult to believe that this is anything more than just spin.”

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1 Comment

  1. Mackenzie says:

    I would’ve loved not just compulsory finance classes in school, but at least optional ones! If they’d been offered in my schools, I would have taken them; instead I managed money the same way my impoverished parent did, which was basically to live on nothing and spend everything I managed to scrimp together on basic essentials.

    I do remember taking a “life skills” class in 7th grade, though… we were taught how to use a typewriter (this was in the early days of Apple computers, so they were teaching us useless life skills :D) and how to write out a check. Not how to keep track of what our checking balance was… just what to write on each line of the check. Really useful stuff, if overdrafts are your thing…

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